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  1. #1
    Registered User ReiLen's Avatar
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    Unhappy Friend has no growth

    I’ll try to keep the setup short. My friend started getting me to be his workout buddy, so we can start working out. I haven’t worked out in a long time (was an athlete in High School, but I’m 32 now), and he was a farm kid (age 24, young and skinny), that never did any formal workout.

    We have been going about twice a week, for 1.5 hours, at around 3-4 months now. I have noticed decent growth in myself. Started benching 140 and now 195, my muscles are more defined and physically hard. Nothing special compared to those who really work out hard, but certainly visible growth.

    He has been doing the exact same workout as me, pushing till his arms shake, going to failure. However, he has no growth. He started bench at 95lbs, and is still struggling to finish it after all this time. The other day, I asked if it was cool for me to touch him, to check on something, and I felt his arm muscles. They weren’t stiff at all, even when he flexed. Not flabby, he’s a skinny kid, but nothing like someone who’s been working out for a bit.

    My diet didn’t change either. I’m eating the same as before. Not really all that healthy, something I plan to change when work calms down in February. Didn’t want to add a change of diet to my busiest time of year.

    I’m worried the guy is going to get discouraged. He’s working, putting in the effort, and looks and lifts exactly the same as the day we started. I know 2 times a week isn’t much, but I feel like some growth should be happening.
    Last edited by ReiLen; 01-24-2020 at 12:21 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Ghawk21's Avatar
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    Are you(and him) following a program with a proper progression protocol? He probably should have started lighter and built up. Tell him to drop down 10-15% and work back up on an actual lifting program. You both would be better off going 3x/week for an hour vs 2x for 1.5. Not sure why your diet is relevant to the conversation about your friend but his diet could also be playing a role. You can both read the nutrition section stickies for some excellent recommendations and help on that front in terms of minimum amounts of protein, fats, carbs etc. you should be aiming for
    Bench: 365
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  3. #3
    Registered User ReiLen's Avatar
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    Sorry, I posted my diet as an example to help show their is change happening in me, but not in him. I wanted to emphasis that I’m not doing anything differently, like suddenly eating better, which would contribute to growth. So rather, we are both doing the exact same thing.

    We only work out 2x for 1.5 because that is the time convenient for our work hours.

    I suppose that could work. I feel bad asking him to lower weight when he has been trying so hard to reach a higher goal.
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    ^This

    Most people don't train correctly but still make progress just at a much slower rate. Nowadays with programs like Fierce 5 there is no more guess work. We know exactly what works. Everything is spoon fed to people in the Fierce 5 comp thread.

    read through this.

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  5. #5
    Registered User ReiLen's Avatar
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    Not familiar with Fierce 5. I’ll check it out. Thanks!
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    Registered User Ghawk21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ReiLen View Post
    Sorry, I posted my diet as an example to help show their is change happening in me, but not in him. I wanted to emphasis that I’m not doing anything differently, like suddenly eating better, which would contribute to growth. So rather, we are both doing the exact same thing.

    We only work out 2x for 1.5 because that is the time convenient for our work hours.

    I suppose that could work. I feel bad asking him to lower weight when he has been trying so hard to reach a higher goal.
    Just let him know that plateau busting deloads are used by everyone from the new lifter to the seasoned vet with 10+ years experience. Spending a few extra weeks building back up is much better than doing the same thing every week expecting something to change, that's the textbook definition of insanity.
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  7. #7
    Registered User William2018's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ReiLen View Post
    I’ll try to keep the setup short. My friend started getting me to be his workout buddy, so we can start working out. I haven’t worked out in a long time (was an athlete in High School, but I’m 32 now), and he was a farm kid (age 24, young and skinny), that never did any formal workout.

    We have been going about twice a week, for 1.5 hours, at around 3-4 months now. I have noticed decent growth in myself. Started benching 140 and now 195, my muscles are more defined and physically hard. Nothing special compared to those who really work out hard, but certainly visible growth.

    He has been doing the exact same workout as me, pushing till his arms shake, going to failure. However, he has no growth. He started bench at 95lbs, and is still struggling to finish it after all this time. The other day, I asked if it was cool for me to touch him, to check on something, and I felt his arm muscles. They weren’t stiff at all, even when he flexed. Not flabby, he’s a skinny kid, but nothing like someone who’s been working out for a bit.

    My diet didn’t change either. I’m eating the same as before. Not really all that healthy, something I plan to change when work calms down in February. Didn’t want to add a change of diet to my busiest time of year.

    I’m worried the guy is going to get discouraged. He’s working, putting in the effort, and looks and lifts exactly the same as the day we started. I know 2 times a week isn’t much, but I feel like some growth should be happening.
    Gains can be hampered by many things, including a bad diet, dehydration, poor sleep, lack of concentration, and mental stress, not lifting consistently, bad form, lifting too heavy too fast, and throwing the weight instead of carefully controlling the weight. He should follow a personalized plan or a fixed program, keep primary focus on hitting the muscle with every rep, and try to feel the burn. Also avoid cheat reps (using other muscles to finish the set), and check if he eats sufficient amounts of healthy fats, carbs, and proteins, and is allowing time for his muscles to rest, recover, and adapt.

    Fix all of the above, and he will build muscle without any problems.
    Last edited by William2018; 01-24-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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  8. #8
    Bands and chains FurtadoZ9's Avatar
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    This is a good example of why two trainees could have completely different results. What it comes down to (if you both are training with the same intensity) is recovery. He most likely is not recovering as well as you.

    There is ALOT that goes into recovery.

    -His diet may not be as good as yours
    -His sleep may not be as good
    -His day to day life could be more stressful. Job, relationships, other activities, ect. Stress has a huge impact on recovery
    -Genetically, he may not recover as well as you
    -His programming requirements could me more narrow. A certain amount of volume might be needed for him

    However, based on the info you have if I had to pick one thing that is most likely hampering his progress, is the intensity you guys are training at.

    You shouldn't be going anywhere near failure as beginners (even getting back into it with prior experience). We need to start moderate, leave 4-5 reps left on your sets, and add 5-10 lbs to all your lifts each week. Stick with the big movements and don't do a bunch of smaller, accessory exercises. It won't help you grow faster, rather it would impair your recovery (everything should be done 2-3x a week).

    Pack on as much weight as you can on the big movements. Once you stall, then we can begin adding volume (more exercises) and training a bit harder.

    x2 on the Fierce 5 recommendation.
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  9. #9
    Registered User WeightedDip's Avatar
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    This one shouldn't be hard to figure out.....

    (IF) he's training as hard as you say he is and not experiencing (any) gains, it's simple. His Diet.

    Most of your gains are made outside of the gym. It takes hard work in the gym, true. But in my opinion it's (35% Training) / (65% Diet.)

    I started out small too. 137 lbs to be exact. Get him on some GNC 1340. Buy online get one 50% off.

    (4) Scoops Per Shake / 36 ounce Yetti full of Whole Milk. 1,800 Calories / 75g+ Protein / 60g+ Carbs x 2 Per Day
    Lunch: Chicken, Veggies
    Dinner: Some kind of meat (I prefer steak or brisket.)
    Snack: Beef Jerky.

    Put him on the ^^^^ Diet. He'll make gains.
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  10. #10
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    Op, you're getting lots of advice in this thread. Some of it is good, some not so good. Do check out Fierce 5, as TAWS6 suggests. Do check in to the diet and recovery issues. But no, there's no specific diet that's going to magically cure his problem.

    It's a fact that people respond differently to training. Some need more volume than others. Some do better with lower weight, more reps, some do better with higher weight, fewer reps. Some people simply progress more slowly than others. You're both training identically, but he may need to be on a different program than you. Don't let him get discouraged. You're both going to have to do some research. Even if he doesn't gain as fast and as much as you do, the program will still do him good.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ReiLen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WeightedDip View Post
    This one shouldn't be hard to figure out.....

    (IF) he's training as hard as you say he is and not experiencing (any) gains, it's simple. His Diet.

    Most of your gains are made outside of the gym. It takes hard work in the gym, true. But in my opinion it's (35% Training) / (65% Diet.)

    I started out small too. 137 lbs to be exact. Get him on some GNC 1340. Buy online get one 50% off.

    (4) Scoops Per Shake / 36 ounce Yetti full of Whole Milk. 1,800 Calories / 75g+ Protein / 60g+ Carbs x 2 Per Day
    Lunch: Chicken, Veggies
    Dinner: Some kind of meat (I prefer steak or brisket.)
    Snack: Beef Jerky.

    Put him on the ^^^^ Diet. He'll make gains.
    That is a lot of calories. 1,800 calories 2 times a day (so 3600 calories), no even including lunch and dinner, seems like a heck of a lot for an average guy, working out twice a week.

    Isn’t that quite a bit much, or am I just ignorant on the subject? I feel I would just get fat.
    Last edited by ReiLen; 01-25-2020 at 09:24 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by ReiLen View Post
    That is a lot of calories. 1,800 calories 2 times a day (so 3600 calories), no even including lunch and dinner, seems like a heck of a lot for an average guy, just trying to get in shape, and not a body builder.

    Isn’t that quite a bit much, or am I just ignorant on the subject? I feel I would just get fat.
    Find out how many calories you need to sustain.

    Add ~500 to that

    Eat .8g of protein / lb of bodyweight.
    60-90g of fat
    Rest carbs

    Understand your daily intake will vary dependent on your expenditure. Off days, days you don't lift as hard, if you add or subtract cardio, ect.

    It's important that you are consistent. Approximate, don't be overzealous with your counting as it can demotivate. The count doesn't need to be perfect.
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    Originally Posted by ReiLen View Post
    That is a lot of calories. 1,800 calories 2 times a day (so 3600 calories), no even including lunch and dinner, seems like a heck of a lot for an average guy, working out twice a week.

    Isn’t that quite a bit much, or am I just ignorant on the subject? I feel I would just get fat.
    That guy did a hella dirty bulk. It worked out for him, but he surely gained a lot of fat also.
    What worked for me was a standard beginner bulk, 350 calorie surplus. Measure and weigh every week and verify. Adjust numbers if needed. Keep a spreadsheet of everything. Also keep track of how you feel each day and correlate that with calorie intake/expenditure. There is a tendency to subconsciously record more calories when trying to bulk, or less when trying to cut. Make sure you FEEL full often. Make sure you end your day thinking "I ate in excess today".
    Current.....................335 / 285 / 480............182 lbs
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